Successful Leadership Through Relationship Building

By Betsy Piland - January 11th, 2021

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CSU Global Alum Michael Teague Learned That Collaboration is Key

When asked what comes to mind as the most important takeaway from his CSU Global graduate program, Michael Teague doesn’t hesitate. “The biggest lesson I took from my Organizational Leadership track is that leadership is about building relationships and effectively communicating.”  

Communication In and Out of the Courtroom

Fittingly, Teague now serves as the Director of Communications for the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council (CDAC), an organization that represents all 22 elected district attorneys in Colorado. CDAC provides training for law enforcement and stakeholders throughout the criminal justice system, and legislative advocacy at the state level. Teague develops communications and marketing strategies that advocate those policies to the general public. 

Teague is proud of the CDAC’s work, citing the recent passage of several bills, like the one banning gay and trans panic defense, noting that Colorado is just the 11th state to do so. 

“We also passed a bill requiring that Colorado’s highest-level sex offenders complete treatment requirements before being released to a halfway house,” says Teague. “Another notable achievement was making a hearsay exception. If a witness is made unavailable by a defendant, either through intimidation or [relocation], the witness’ previous statements can be admitted as evidence.” 

This important work benefits from insight gained from the CSU Global Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) program. Teague said that the coursework provided him with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the intricacies of human dynamics in organizations.

Strategic Planning for Success

Teague’s decision to pursue a master’s degree was spurred by an experience he had while working for the National Junior College Athletic Association. He worked alongside the facilitator of a two-year-long strategic planning and organizational redesign initiative, which piqued his interest in strategic planning and leadership. 

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He took advantage of his employer’s tuition reimbursement benefit, and enrolled in CSU Global’s Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Change Management, later rolling that certificate into the full MSOL Master’s Degree program. 

Over the course of the program, he says, “From a broad perspective, I think it really shed light on what are effective leadership practices and how to differentiate between our natural instincts, which lean into more of a classical management style, which proves to not to be very effective, and instead taking a more human relations approach.”

As for why CSU Global appealed to him, Teague cites the university’s flexibility. “At the time…it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to be working 75-80 hours a week. There wasn’t going to be time for me to go actually sit in a classroom. So the flexibility of being able to do the classes on my schedule, and be able to do it all online made it a no-brainer.”

From the Classroom to Board Room

Teague appreciated being able to take what he learned and immediately apply it to his daily work. He described a scenario from a former employer, where he had offered some solutions to challenges that had plagued the organization for decades. He quickly learned that just laying out a logical argument for his proposal wouldn’t be effective. 

“Once I started taking the classes and adopting some of those principles, I learned how to connect to the larger group’s objectives and individual interests of the stakeholders.” Teague proposed his solution again at a later meeting, and it passed without issue. Why? “Because I did a lot of relationship building and background work heading into that meeting.”

Learn More: Why CSU Global? | Master of Organizational Leadership

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